On Wednesday evening, The New Yorker ran a new investigative piece from Jane Meyer and Ronan Farrow. That piece claimed that the FBI investigation into sexual assault claims against Brett Kavanaugh was insufficient. What made the investigation insufficient? According to Meyer and Farrow:
Frustrated potential witnesses who have been unable to speak with the F.B.I agents conducting the investigation into sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, have been resorting to sending statements, unsolicited, to the Bureau and to senators, in hopes that they would be seen before the inquiry concluded.
Who were these witnesses? The first, one Kenneth Appold, says he can support the claims of Deborah Ramirez – a woman first reported by Meyer and Farrow – who claims that at a drunken frat party, Kavanaugh exposed himself to her. Here’s Appold’s story:
Kenneth G. Appold was a suitemate of Kavanaugh’s at the time of the alleged incident. He had previously spoken to The New Yorker about Ramirez on condition of anonymity, but he said that he is now willing to be identified because he believes that the F.B.I. must thoroughly investigate her allegation. Appold, who is the James Hastings Nichols Professor of Reformation History at Princeton Theological Seminary, said that he first heard about the alleged incident involving Kavanaugh and Ramirez either the night it occurred or a day or two later. Appold said that he was “one-hundred-per-cent certain” that he was told that Kavanaugh was the male student who exposed himself to Ramirez.
What made him sure? He heard about it second-hand. But there’s a serious problem with Appold’s story, which Meyer and Farrow bury several paragraphs down:
Appold said that he initially asked to remain anonymous because he hoped to make contact first with the classmate who, to the best of his recollection, told him about the party and was an eyewitness to the incident. He said that he had not been able to get any response from that person, despite multiple attempts to do so. The New Yorker reached the classmate, but he said that he had no memory of the incident.
The only witness at a massively public event had no memory of the event – so The New Yorker quoted a person that the witness supposedly talked to two decades ago, and who didn’t originally want to say anything before talking with the original witness.
Well done, New Yorker.
Then the report got even worse. The New Yorker wrote that some of Kavanaugh’s classmates said he was a bully in high school who laughed at other kids:
In his statement, which his attorney also sent to several members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, he described Kavanaugh as part of a clique of high-school athletes, most of whom were on the football team, who “routinely picked on” less physically fit or popular students. He said that he never witnessed Kavanaugh physically attacking another student, but he recalled him doing “nothing to stop the physical and verbal abuse.” Instead, he said, Kavanaugh “stood by and laughed at the victims.”
So that’s the whole story. Again, no witnesses at a highly public event. Again, second-hand stories without corroboration from the key witnesses at issue. And again, more useless stories that have nothing to do with the actual allegations at issue.